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Thread: Lightnings!
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Old 25th Aug 2008, 16:37
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,535
Hello Tim,

I'd like to help but my only graphic contribution would be of screen-grabs from 8mm cine film which wouldn't be of printable quality. However if you want a brief résumé of their flying display see below.

I shot the 8mm cine film of 74 Sqn displaying their Lightnings at the Paris (Le Bourget) Airshow (24th Paris Salon Aéronautique) in May 1961. Witness these screen grabs. Displayed as grabbed frames the quality is poor, but they look 100% better when projected.

I was one of the two crews from 99 and 511 Sqn that accompanied a RAF Transport Command Britannia that was on static display or the duration of the display. One of my better trips IMHO.

The flying display programme was long, lasting (with a lunchtirne interval of an hour-and-a-half) from nearly ten in the morning till after six in the evening and had something for everyone.

As I recall after 47-years (with the help of some notes made at the time), 74's display as led by Sqn Ldr John Howe was first class and consisted of wingovers with nine aircraft (in 1961 the largest number of Lightnings ever seen publicly together) and rolls with four. One manoeuvre at the end had the Parisian spectators on their feet applauding.
As the main formation of Lightnings wheeled away to the front with spectators turning to watch them, a singleton flown by Flt. Lt. Ken Goodwin, who'd detached himself from the nine-man formation came screaming from behind the spectators at near sonic speed with his afterburners at full blast and at very low-level just over the spectator’s heads.
The sudden shock of noise hit like a thunderclap and startled everyone, but when it was realised that it was part of the display and spectators had recovered from the shock, they were on their feet and clapping in a very appreciative manner, something I’d never experienced before, especially as it was the French applauding the British!

Flt Lt Goodwin then did a solo aerobatics display which included Derry turns and low inverted fly-bys.

The 1961 24th Paris Salon Aéronautique static park. RAF aircraft on display included ours (Britannia), Vulcan, Victor, Javelin, Argosy and possibly others.

Last edited by Warmtoast; 30th Jan 2015 at 16:08. Reason: Restore deleted photos
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